With the advent of Louis Pasteur’s discovery, the concept of preventive medicine opened up. Gradually the concept grew broader and by 1900s the concept of preventive medicine in non infectious diseases also started blooming. The homoeopathic literature is evident of its role in prevention and treatment of epidemic diseases. This work is an attempt to highlight all such important milestones in the field of homoeopathy during various outbreaks of epidemic diseases till now.
KEYWORDS: epidemics, homoeopathy, preventive healthcare, genus epidemicus, COVID-19.
ABBREVIATIONS: COVID-19 – coronavirus infectious disease 2019, BC – before christ, HPI – Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India.
Since the hunting-gathering days of humanity communicable diseases have been existed but since around 10,000 years of the shift to agricultural life the spread of these diseases have been more facilitated. An insight into homoeopathic literature and the results of recent studies undertaken are evident of the significance of homoeopathy in epidemic diseases.
EPIDEMIC DISEASES: The earliest recorded pandemic was in 430 BC, during Peloponnesian war. (1). There have been number of epidemic/pandemic outbreaks till now however the most fatal pandemic recorded in history till date was black death (the plague). It killed around 75- 200 million people during 14th century (2).
Table 1 enlists the important epidemic/ pandemic outbreaks till now and the effects caused by them (2)(3):
HOMOEOPATHY IN EPIDEMICS/ PANDEMICS:
Dr Hahnemann even before the discovery of homoeopathy elaborately discussed various measures for preventing diseases in general with special reference to communicable diseases and importance of sanitation.(4). The explanation regarding epidemic diseases, their classification, prevention, management, miasm had been elaborately written by him. The details about the prevention of epidemic diseases and their outcome have must be known in order to understand the role of homoeopathy in epidemic diseases. Three methods of Homoeoprophylaxis can be described as under (7).
- By finding a GENUS EPIDEMICUS: Though the term “genus epidemicus” had not been directly used by Dr Hahnemann but his writings express this concept (aphorism 73, 101, and 241). The concept of genus epidemicus was firstly given by Hippocrates and was later taken up by Paracelsus as well. The first recorded use of prophylaxis by Hahnemann was the preventive of scarlet fever by using belladonna (4). Table 2 shows the use of belladonna as preventive for scarlet fever by various stalwarts and the results obtained (4) (8) (9) (10) . Table 3 explains about the cholera epidemic (4) (9). Table 4 explains about the same in other epidemic outbreaks (4) (10) (11).
- By administering NOSODE. The earliest development of concepts and use of nosodes is found by Hahnemann and Constantine Hering. Today, on the basis of preparation of nosodes the HPI has classified them into 4 groups (11)(12) . Table 5 shows the use of nosodes as homoeoprophylaxis with their outcomes (13-24):
- By using the constitutional medicine: The constitutional medicine would be able to strengthen a person’s vital force and thereby raising his overall immunity against stress and diseases. It would remove predispositions of an individual.
THE ACTIVIES BY CCRH IN DIFFERNT EPIDEMIC OUTBREAKS: Various relief camps had been carried out by CCRH during the outbreaks of communicable diseases for prevention as well as treatment. Table 6 below shows the information on documented records of CCRH.(25)
HOMOEOPATHY IN COVID-19 OUTBREAK: Recently a new strain of virus was found in Wuhan, china in December 2019 and it presented in the form of NCIP (novel corona virus infected pneumonia (26). India recorded its first COVID – 19 case on 30th January 2020 in Kerala, that rose to 3 cases by 3rd February (27). In India, the ministry of AYUSH had been notified by the government to undertake various research works in the field of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (28). Arsenicum album 30 was the suggested homoeopathic prophylactic medicine. In April 2020, LMHI presents the newsletter to WHO addressing the viability of homoeopathy in epidemic diseases and requested WHO to consider homoeopathic mode of treatment as viable approach of treatment for COVID patients. Further it published data in April, May and June 2020 regarding the clinical experience of treating patients with COVID, including the reportorial analysis, presentation of symptoms in patients and results (29). In Italy, the studies was undertaken with 50 patients who were symptomatic and COVID positive and were treated homeopathically under extra hospital home isolation regimen. As a result hospitalization rate in these 50 patients was 0(30). The American Institute of homoeopathy through their study revealed the effectiveness of Bryonia alba and Arsenicum album in this situation (31).
CONCLUSION: Thus the detailed study of the use of homoeopathic medicines as prophylaxis and in treatment of epidemic diseases along with the results shows the efficacy of this mode of treatment.
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- Bradford T. The Logic of Figures or comparative results of homoeopathic and other treatments. Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel, 1900.
- Singh M. Pioneers of Homoeopathy. B. Jain Publishers; 2003 Jun 30.
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- Robusta G. Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India (HPI). New Delhi: Ministry of health & family welfare Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. 2000;9:913-4.
- Sankar K, Jadhav AP. Nosodes and sarcodes.
- Currim AN. The Collected Works of Arthur Hill Grimmer, MD. JOURNAL-AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF HOMEOPATHY. 1997;90:44-52.
- Nayak D, Varanasi R. Homoeopathic nosodes, a neglected approach for epidemics: A critical review. Indian Journal of Research in Homoeopathy. 2020 Apr 1;14(2):129.
- Castro D, Nogueira G. Use of the nosode meningococcinum as a preventive against meningitis. J Am Inst Homeopath. 1975;68(211):9.
- English JM. Pertussin 30—Preventive for whooping cough?: A pilot study. British Homoeopathic Journal. 1987 Apr 1;76(2):61-5.
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- Frost C. A double blind study on the comparative efficacy of influenza vaccination and Influenzium 7CH (Doctoral dissertation, University of Johannesburg).
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- Pandey R, Gupta S, Singh AR, Gupta J, Kabirpanthi V. Effectiveness of medicine malaria Off 200, as mass prophylaxis against malaria in the high-risk villages of Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh. Int Arch Biomed Clin Res. 2019;5:1-6.
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- Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy EPIDEMICS- IMR PROJECT (accessed on june 2, 2020) (internet) available from: https://www.ccrhindia.nic.in/admnis/admin/showimg.aspx?id=6475
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Dr Yashvi Mandavia
Post graduate scholar, Department of Homoeopathic Philosophy and Organon of Medicine, Bharati Homeopathic Hospital and Medical College, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed to be University, Pune, India, 411043.